The Common Beetle You Don't Need To Worry About Finding In Your Garden

As a dedicated gardener, you're sure to be on the lookout for suspicious bugs that might be up to no good in your vegetable patch. You can't get rid of pests completely; they're an important part of garden life and natural ecosystems, but that doesn't mean you can't be cautious and prevent damaging infestations before they develop. The sighting of a big dark beetle amongst your shrubs and cabbages might startle you, but not all beetles are a threat. In fact, there are some beetles and bugs that can protect your garden, assisting in keeping pest populations down. One such common beetle is the ground beetle.

There are many species of ground beetle. They come in a variety of metallic-like colors, from black and brown to blue and green, and each up to 25 millimeters in length. But the bigger the beetle, the bigger the pests it can target. So don't be too alarmed if you spot a big one, as it's probably helping to keep numbers down in the slug and caterpillar population.

You can encourage these helpers into your garden by creating ground-based habitats for them to hide in. Soil is essential, and don't be too eager to clear away leaf litter or debris as it provides plenty of cover for hunting. Be sure to have some rocks and logs about too, which are perfect for ground beetles to hide out under.

Ground beetles as beneficial garden insects

The ground beetle is a beneficial predator in your garden, with terrifying mandibles perfect for crushing enemies — think of them as a highly effective guard dog, savaging or scaring away creepy crawlies that are out to steal your fruits and veggies! Ground beetles are also known as "generalist" predators, which means they have a very varied menu. They can enjoy feeding on many different pests in your garden, including aphids, caterpillars, and grubs.

They're called "ground" beetles because this is where they live, breed, and primarily hunt their prey, but they can also get up into the foliage of your plants to feast. Being ground-based predators means they're less likely to target any flying pests, but don't underestimate them; they do an excellent job of keeping population numbers down by clearing up any eggs and larvae, helping to break the life cycles of many pests. Cabbage root maggots are a favorite of ground beetles as they live in the soil. Ants and their eggs and larvae are also on the menu, along with the larvae of other not-so-friendly beetles.